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I wish to learn Buddhism from monks and learn things I don't understand. Is a formal training from an institute like ( http://www.rootinstitute.ngo/ ) fruitful? Are there people who have taken training like this? I will have to invest a life-time of my savings to take this education. I want to make a good decision. Can someone please show me the way? :)

--Noob here.

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    Whenever an Indian friend in Dhamma ask a similar question as yours, always my advice to them was to not try to go in search of one elsewhere in India but to go to the Buddhagyan Ashram, Bodhgaya. The Buddhagyan monastery is like an oasis for the Dhamma loving people in India. To find the highest level of Dhamma, you may have to visit Sri Lanka. – Saptha Visuddhi Dec 16 '17 at 21:13
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Root Institute belongs to the FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, founded by Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche). It is a Gelug-pa organization.

At Root Institute, they teach the (normally 5 years) Basic Program, but I am not sure they do it as long as 5 years. There are FPMT centers where it lasts 2 or 3 years only. The curriculum is always the same, though.

I studied the 5 years BP at Nalanda Monastery, in France (the program was in Tibetan, English, French, and Spanish). It is a lot of study, discussion groups, exams and learning by heart, "karma yoga" (i.e. community service). There are usually more lay people than monks. It is designed specifically for those who do not speak Tibetan and cannot attend the study program at Sera monastic "university". In addition, contrary to Sera, it is not exclusively monastic. The Program includes a bit of meditation (45 minutes day is not much indeed), and sometimes formal debates. Normally, the 45 minutes session has to be Lam Rim meditation.

On the importance of studying, there is a Zen nun (ven Myokyo) who said:

Real acquaintance with the Dharma is necessary because, being what we are, we are prone to stray. If we do not have the framework of the teachings, and continuously test ourselves against it, we will very soon be off and away down a blind alley. Training and the teachings need to match, need to go hand in hand.

On a more personal level, I feel studying helped me read (in a general sense) on my own. I believe I got rid of the grossest misconceptions I had. Studying also helped me dig channels for my mind to flow, like a river (of course, it stills wanders off... finds its way to unwholesome places and dwells on what has to be abandoned). It supports meditation. The more I studied, the more I understood it can lead somewhere but it is a question of how we relate to study and how we use it.

Attending the 5 years BP is one of the best things I have done in my life.

One thing to bear in mind, though, is that the FPMT Basic Program covers just a few texts belonging to one tradition in particular. I would suggest that, once grounded in one tradition, entertaining diversity is an antidote to sectarian stances and over-simplifications.

  • Thank-you for your explanation. I am not a westerner. I'm from India. Have you benefited from the 5 year study? – user12713 Dec 16 '17 at 12:05
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    Welcome. It's okay if you are not a westerner, I will correct my initial answer. I had in mind that most Tibetan-speaking monks in the Gelug tradition study at Sera, not in a FPMT center. I will add in what I benefited from the 5 years study. – Tenzin Dorje Dec 16 '17 at 13:27
  • @Tenzin Dorje. Thank you for this great answer. – Lanka Dec 17 '17 at 10:57
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The Buddha taught the Dhamma is a free gift. Assuming you live in India, if the Root Institute is too expensive for you, you could possibly consider travelling to Sri Lanka, where you can probably stay & learn in a Buddhist monastery for no financial cost.

Also, FPMT teaches Tibetan Buddhism, often focusing on more modern teachers they consider to be important, such as Atisa, Manjushri, Shantideva & Pabongkhapa ; and also focusing on deity yoga, such as Tara. While my personal experience with FPMT is they are very nice people, the teachings are very Tibetan and often very different to classical Theravada Buddhism.

This is the best of gifts: the gift of Dhamma. AN 9.5

  • Yes, I am from India. I know education comes at a price; I've no issues paying for it too. I don't mind travelling anywhere to learn. :) Can you guide me if you have a monastery in mind? – user12713 Dec 16 '17 at 12:10
  • Sorry. I cannot guide you to Sri Lanka. I studied Buddhism in Thailand. However, there are numerous Sri Lankan members here, who could help you. You can ask a new question about where to study Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Kind regards. – Dhammadhatu Dec 16 '17 at 12:28
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    I don't mind travelling anywhere. Sri Lanka or Thailand or Pluto (Elon Musk must help in this case!). Or somewhere in India too. :) Thank-you for your insights. :) – user12713 Dec 16 '17 at 12:33
  • where in india do you live ? do you have buddhist teachers next to you ? – breath Dec 16 '17 at 13:23
  • @breath I live in Bombay. I tried finding out local teachers, but couldn't find any. I even went to local Buddhist temples, but no luck :( – user12713 Dec 16 '17 at 13:29
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Kalpesh Mange

Genuine spiritual teachings cannot be separated from the manner in which they are given.

True Dhamma is like friendship: if you are being charged for it, you already know you are not getting the real thing.

Buying Dhamma, taking ungiven, stealing, and so on is like seeking for a heart of gold and then try impatiently not willing of real sacrifies satisfy one self just in redlight districts, prostitution, or abuse. Even it might satisfy shortly, it will hardly ever become ever a real, intimate and fruitful relation.

Is that what you seek for, all you can, could effort?


[Kapadika Bharadvaja:] "To what extent is there an awakening to the truth? To what extent does one awaken to the truth? We ask Master Gotama about awakening to the truth."

[The Buddha:] "There is the case, Bharadvaja, where a monk lives in dependence on a certain village or town. Then a householder or householder's son goes to him and observes him with regard to three mental qualities — qualities based on greed, qualities based on aversion, qualities based on delusion: 'Are there in this venerable one any such qualities based on greed that, with his mind overcome by these qualities, he might say, "I know," while not knowing, or say, "I see," while not seeing; or that he might urge another to act in a way that was for his/her long-term harm & pain?' As he observes him, he comes to know, 'There are in this venerable one no such qualities based on greed... His bodily behavior & verbal behavior are those of one not greedy. And the Dhamma he teaches is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, tranquil, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. This Dhamma can't easily be taught by a person who's greedy... The Way to Stream Entry

Better to Give than to Consume

Related aspects in similar questions:

[Q&A] Proper way to ask a teacher to become their student

Where can one find guidance from a teacher next year in 2018?

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

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    If I understand their web site properly, it's a not-for-profit organisation; and donations are to defray running expenses, i.e. for accommodation and food when staying there. Is that usual or unusual? I think the OP is saying that he has to travel (and stay) somewhere, because he hasn't found local teachers even in local temples. Shouldn't he expect that (accommodation and food when away from home) to cost something? – ChrisW Dec 19 '17 at 0:46
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    Thankyou for your answer. But how does a lay person like me even find a teacher that is willing to impart Dhamma to me? – user12713 Dec 19 '17 at 0:46
  • @KalpeshMange : "There is the case, Bharadvaja, where a monk lives in dependence on a certain village or town. Then a householder or householder's son goes to him and observes him with regard to three mental qualities..." Canki Sutta. Nyom Chris. Buddhas real non profit "organisation" is called Sangha. Why deal and trade with "thieves" and disregard Buddhas way? It's not possible to gain Dhamma in this way, as hard one may try and ignore the Juwels. What "you" do here, at large, many, is just cut yourself off step by step... – Samana Johann Dec 19 '17 at 4:59
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    Try to turn around this usuall attitude and look where you can give, time, skill... "invest" into what is directed to Nibbana,not the world, what goes a walk of letting go and leave behind. From the first till the last step, it's all about giving, shaing (without expecting anything in return) at first. If focusing on the causes, effects will come. If focusing on fruits and effects, then (since not knowing what) it will be always wrong (and unskillful intended), @KalpeshMange . Don't think in ways how to get this or that, but what are you able to simply give and this not like a costumer, – Samana Johann Dec 19 '17 at 8:07

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